International Day Of Happiness
- March 17,2022
- 1 Min Read
The question ‘what is happiness?’ has boggled philosophers for centuries, and while we are no philosopher, we can tell you what happiness looks like when it comes to body chemistry.
There are four primary brain chemicals that control our positive and happy emotions, namely, Dopamin, Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphins.
Let’s begin with Dopamine. Remember that quick sweep of happiness when you check off an item on your to-do list, or get a gift, or someone likes your social media post? Yes, that’s dopamine. It makes you feel happy for a short duration of time. It is a great motivator to move forward. Although, it is fleeting and addictive too. Since it doesn’t stay for too long and you need more of it, you move on to the next task, or the next item to shop, or the next post on your feed. When it’s productive, like finishing all your tasks before leaving the office, it’s great, but if not, like scrolling through Instagram or YouTube, you might feel bad later.
Next, Oxytocin, a.k.a “hugging drug”. It is released with physical or social contact with others. It is one of the reasons why humans are ‘social animals’. Where dopamine is more about ‘instant gratification', oxytocin gives us long term feelings of love, trust and friendship. If you are looking to increase your levels of oxytocin, increase your ‘thoughtful’ interactions with others. One of the amazing things about oxytocin is that it works for the ‘giver’ and ‘receiver’ at the same time. Meet new people, make friends, care for someone, give a gift, work and hang out together, and hug the people you wanna hug.
Then we have Serotonin. This is also related to our social life but gets released when we feel proud, respected, accomplished and recognised by others. It also works in dual ways. When a leader is getting serotonin, they are motivated to be better and achieve more and at the same time the followers are motivated to follow their leader. We feel obligated and thankful to the person/thing that’s causing our serotonin release. That’s the reason why a player thanks their coach after winning a trophy. Serotonin also has effects on digestion, and bone and organ development.
And last but not least, Endorphin. Talking about leaving your comfort zone? Endorphins are released in response to physical pain or discomfort for us to push our limits and excel in situations where usually one would like to give up. That’s why exercising after a long day of work can actually help you relax. If you, instead of retiring to your couch and Netflix, give a few painstaking hours in the gym, endorphins will work their magic.